I know those gates, too

Heather McNamara discusses the political clusterfuck in which lesbians are positioned, having to deal with, all at once, patriarchs, theocrats, cishet feminists, TERFs, armchair psychologists and more assorted twits.

Welcome to lesbianism! And congratulations on your decision to give up dating men. They can be fun sometimes, but I can tell you from experience that lesbianism is way way more fun. For starters, there are boobs. More on that later.

You’ll want to get started right away so let’s get busy on the orientation. We have a lot of stereotypes to roll our eyes at, six seasons of The L Word to get through whether you like it or not – don’t look at me that way – and of course you’ll want to know how to answer all the stupid questions you get from straight friends and family. You’re also going to want to find yourself some lesbian gathering places, but please avoid the temptation to check Craigslist. We’re not as big on the bar scene as our queer brothers are, but you’ll find there are plenty of drum circles, softball teams, and Facebook groups.

Oh uh. There’s just one little snag.

You probably noticed all those people standing at the gates, didn’t you? Yeah, they’re uh… they’re a thing.

If you came over from female heterosexuality, you may never have seen anyone at the gates, flung wide open as they tend to be. It’s funny how ogling girls and making out with girls hardly gets anyone kicked out of female heterosexuality, isn’t it? Especially since, well, if you check to your right over there you can see that the great camo print gates of male heterosexuality are guarded by teams of NoHomo militia. If you came from female bisexuality, you might have a little more experience, mostly in the form of pushy relatives and mansplainers who love to tell you that it’s just a phase. Lucky you didn’t have to deal with the gates of male bisexuality, though! I don’t think anyone’s gotten through there except maybe David Bowie but not all of us can afford helicopters. I’m pretty sure there’s just a trap door out front and a slide that drops you into male homosexuality.

I identify as queer and I’ll be honest, a tiny sliver in the pie chart of “reasons for doing so” is an attempt to sidestep these tedious sexual politics. Read more here.



  1. cartomancer says

    Funnily enough I had quite a bit of this when I finally told my friends that I was a (male) gay. Which they don’t normally tell you is a thing anywhere. Apart from my one gay friend they all thought I was pretending to be gay to gain some kind of cultural cachet – because gay men are lively and flamboyant and interesting, whereas I’m a tedious, dull old thing and could well do with the borrowed glitter being gay would bring. I suppose it was partly my fault, since I’d been doing my hardest to convince everyone (myself included) that I was completely asexual up to that point, and with no evidence to present them (I’ve never had a boyfriend) the sudden change of direction wasn’t easy to substantiate. Perhaps I had done my work of obfuscation rather too well.

    But it does shine some light on the underlying attitudes here I think. Gay men are primarily defined in the popular imagination as men who have sex with men – the act is primary – and if you can’t provide evidence of having done that you don’t really qualify however much you express the desire to want to do so. Gay women, on the other hand, are women who don’t want to have sex with men – the desire is primary – and the standards of proof for that intra-mental state are harder to evidence.

  2. Siobhan says


    Yeah, the tropes will vary depending on the specific intersections involved, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re an intellectual dead-end and an utter quagmire.